Donnybrook park to make way for homes

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Nicolette BarbasSouth Western Times
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Vin Farley Park.
Camera IconVin Farley Park.

A well-loved Donnybrook park that has played host to generations of children’s birthday parties is being relocated to make way for housing.

But the announcement from the Donnybrook-Balingup Shire Council has angered dozens of residents who are struggling to understand why the council wants to tear down such a popular and well-maintained park.

Situated on the corner of Emerald and Marmion streets in Donnybrook, Vin Farley Park, commonly known as The Tractor Park to Donnybrook locals, has been around for more than 30 years.

The recently announced VC Mitchell Park Master Plan proposes relocating the Vin Farley Rotary Playground closer to the main activity areas of the sporting and recreation precinct.

The land occupied by the playground would then be subdivided into three residential blocks.

Resident Simon McInnes is concerned the council is taking a step backwards by selling the popular children’s playground.

“This playground has been around for a long time, all of my kids (who are in their 20s now) had their birthday parties there,” Mr McInness said.

“It is a secure place where mums can sit under the trees while their kids play peacefully.

“Instead of getting rid of a well-used and well-maintained playground, a new playground should instead be considered.”

Donnybrook shire president Brian Piesse said the relocation of the park was well considered by the representative project working group.

“Members of the project working group gleaned that the precincts or complexes built in recent times accommodated a play or fun area for children within close proximity of the respective community/social hub for two major reasons,” Mr Piesse said.

“It provided an area to occupy and exercise the body and minds of children during events and also provided increased security and safety, a prime concern amongst discerning parents.”

Stage one of the plan will cost $7.5 million and involve a loan of $3 million including provision for a small playground with barbecues.

In a letter to the Preston Press, Mr McInnes said this loan would be the biggest loan in the shire’s history.

“If the shire must sell a playground now, I wonder what else will have to go to cover costs over the next 30 years?” he wrote.

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